Comparison of the Performance of Two Methods for Concentration of Wastewater for Outbreak Monitoring of COVID-19 in Metropolitan Atlanta, GA. Open Access

Cantrell, Caleb (Spring 2022)

Permanent URL:


The use of wastewater surveillance for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) which is the etiologic agent that causes the respiratory disease COVID-19 has rapidly expanded since the emergence of the virus in December of 2019. Studies have shown that rises in SARS-CoV-2 RNA within wastewater among sewersheds is indicative of increases in COVID-19 incidence among the population contributing to that sewershed. Advancements in concentration methods for SARS-CoV-2 RNA quantification have created the need for comparison studies to determine the association between these methods as well as reported COVID-19 cases. A prospective study was conducted among seven influent lines that collected wastewater for three publicly owned treatment works in the metropolitan Atlanta, GA area. This study sought to determine the association between wastewater sample SARS-CoV-2 RNA concentration found using membrane filtration (MF) and a magnetic hydrogel particle concentration method (Nanotrap® Magnetic Virus Particles), hereafter Nanotrap® particles, as well as the association between COVID-19 incidence and concentration of SARS-CoV-2 RNA in wastewater. The nonparametric correlation using Kendall’s tau showed statistical correlation between the RNA concentration and COVID-19 incidence for Nanotrap® particles (tau = 0.26, p < 0.001) and for MF (tau = 0.56, p < 0.001). It was found that for every 1-log increase of RNA concentration using Nanotrap® particles resulted in a 0.55-log increase in COVID-19 incidence among all sewersheds; for every 1-log increase in RNA concentration using MF there was a 0.46-log increase in the incidence. Additionally, the relationship between the concentrations of SARS-CoV-2 RNA reported by Nanotrap® particles and by the MF method were significantly associated. Furthermore, the Nanotrap® particles yielded higher quantities of RNA compared to MF. These findings provide the foundation for comparison of the primary virus concentration methods used in wastewater surveillance of COVID-19 as the field evolves.

Table of Contents



Study Goals

Materials & Methods



About this Master's Thesis

Rights statement
  • Permission granted by the author to include this thesis or dissertation in this repository. All rights reserved by the author. Please contact the author for information regarding the reproduction and use of this thesis or dissertation.
Subfield / Discipline
  • English
Research Field
Committee Chair / Thesis Advisor
Committee Members
Last modified

Primary PDF

Supplemental Files